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VecchioJo doesn’t need these, but does

I have always wanted a pair of these, I have never needed a pair of these. I have absolutely no use for a pair of these. I still want a pair of these.

Sprint Carrier.png

Sprint Carrier.png

A lot of you will have no idea what these actually are. These bits of metal are a bygone cycle accessory that went by the name of “Sprint Carriers”.

Back when people only had one bike (I know, imagine) and had no car (I know, imagine) many would ride to the start of races, do the race and then ride home at the end (I know, imagine). You didn’t want to ride there on your posh lightweight race wheels and risk damaging them or puncturing your Sunday best tyres so you’d head out on your tatty training wheels and take your racing wheels with you to swap on the start line. Strapping them to your back would be both heavy and cumbersome so you used a pair of these contrivances instead. Bolted to your front axle they enabled you to carry your spare wheels safely and securely either side of the front wheel, aided by a couple of toe-straps (some of you might want to ask what these are as well, another bike part that’s slowly making its way to the bin of history despite still being incredibly useful) round the bars to stop them bouncing around too much.

B+W Wheel-Carrier (Pic via cyclinginfo.co_.uk).jpg

B+W Wheel-Carrier (Pic via cyclinginfo.co_.uk).jpg

A quaint and forgotten product of a different age the whole set-up looks a little odd and whimsically charming now but cyclists did this back in the day as a matter of course, it was in no way special, it was just what you did.

I’ve often ridden to the start of races; there are quite a few within an easy distance of here so I’m quite lucky. I know friends that live a lot closer to the same races that have driven because they need their spare bike and spare wheels and their bag of kit, and their rollers to warm up on and a towel and their special recovery drink bottle for afterwards, and just ‘stuff’ that’s easy to fill a car with because you can. Here’s a thing, riding there is quite a good warm up, the pedal home can be quite a nice warm down too, and you can quickly stop somewhere for a recovery pint/hot chocolate/pie depending on the season/bike.

Rosa Sprint Wheel Carrier Advert (Pic - classiclightweights.co_.uk).jpg

Rosa Sprint Wheel Carrier Advert (Pic - classiclightweights.co_.uk).jpg

Whilst I might ride to the odd race I’ve never had the need to carry my racing wheels there because I’ve never owned any posh racing wheels, I’ve never been financially fluid or desperately serious enough, I just race the wheels I have on. I don’t possess special lightweight carbon race wheels, although I might have some carbon wheels that I clatter about the roads on, nor do I have cross-racing tubs, although I really should have some, I’d really like some actually. I race what I brung as some like to say.

Race Caddy (Pic - Race Caddies).png

Race Caddy (Pic - Race Caddies).png

None of this stops me wanting some of these simple antique bits of bent chromed metal. They’re an elegant solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist any more. Which makes it even odder that you can now buy a modern version of sprint carriers in the form of Race Caddies, a sturdier higher-tech version in machined aluminium. I quietly salute designer Peter Giddings for bringing these wonderfully anachronistic components into a world where most people don’t know they exist, or even require them.

I want some Sprint Carriers a little bit more now, but I should probably get some posh wheels first to justify them. Although needing some to take wheels that want mending to the bike shop is a good enough excuse for me.

Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.

13 comments

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ConcordeCX [468 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

Jolly nice. But 4/6d back then, £80 now for the Race Caddies? Someone's having a laugh.

I bet you can get originals on eBay for practically nothing. Let's see shall we?

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Cyclo-wheel-Carrier-Sprint-Vinatge-bicycle-194...

Oh dear...

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FMOAB [289 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

Great article, every day's a school day.

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mylesrants [387 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

I carried my 18/24 spoke Assos rims on my back to the start of TT less i got my (second hand) silk tubs punctures

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racyrich [304 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

Yep, I still have my sprint carriers. Aluminium ones too. Essential for riding out to  time trials and keeping the Clement 3s off the crappy lanes.  Concrete carriageways only for those bad boys.

Sprint carriers are also a handy way of getting new wheels home from the bike shop.  Trouble with modern forks is there's no way the old carriers would work with them, the dropouts are too recessed. Hence the need for that sparkly new design. £80 is an outrage though.

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dottigirl [808 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

Ooh, would be useful, if there were a cheaper option. I've always attached wheels to my rucksack. 

Gobsmacked that they're £80 each. kiss

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keepontriking [19 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes
dottigirl wrote:

Ooh, would be useful, if there were a cheaper option. I've always attached wheels to my rucksack. 

Gobsmacked that they're £80 each. kiss

 

Its possible to get hold of cheap flat spanners of a suitable size and bend them into shape.

The originals are best though. I still have mine.

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Jharrison5 [136 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

I'm not sure if I have a more favourable browser, or whether there's a Yorkshireman in Scotland discount? The modern ones are £55 when I look them up now.

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nowasps [519 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes
Jharrison5 wrote:

I'm not sure if I have a more favourable browser, or whether there's a Yorkshireman in Scotland discount? The modern ones are £55 when I look them up now.

 

He's right. £55.

...Unless that's each.

 

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Al__S [1267 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

Must be for a pair as they have a left and a right version (due to where that tab is located) and there's no bit to select which one you want.

 

Obviously need a longer (rear disc brake?) skewer

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Simon E [3121 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

Sprint carriers are not dead:

https://twitter.com/IslaRowntree/status/817287683848503296

https://twitter.com/waterrat77/status/818032645263282176

For this season's league and National Trophy cyclo-cross races Islabikes' founder has been travelling by train and riding a singlespeed bike (#onebikecross).

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CygnusX1 [577 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes
dottigirl wrote:

Ooh, would be useful, if there were a cheaper option. I've always attached wheels to my rucksack. 

Gobsmacked that they're £80 each. kiss

When taking a wheel to the LBS for repair I've used an old inner tube - cut through it either side of the valve and tie the ends to the wheel rim to make a shoulder sling.

Having left said inner tube on my desk when going to pick the wheel up afterwards I had to cadge one from the bin at the LBS - they gave me a MTB inner, turns out they are stretchier, so the ride home involved holding the repaired wheel with one hand to keep it  from snagging on anything. 

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RaceCaddies [2 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

Hi

I wish Jo had put this up a week later.

After a year of HARD work, and some careful coaxing I've found guys that can hit my specs and get the price down to £55 for the pair. That is as cheap as you can make a niche product in the UK.

RaceCaddies aren't for everyone, but they are great for people who ride and cost the same as 1 good tubular...

Pete

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RaceCaddies [2 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

@ Racyrich - amen brother, I have used an old set from ebay as well as spanners and they don't work with modern drop outs. The axle flat is usually in a pocket to keep the blade section high and that fouls the old-school designs.

Of the 20 or so forks I tried the old designs on only the old school skinny steel forks fitted, all the modern designs wouldn't work.

Thanks for supporting the idea behind RaceCaddies, more people riding to races is always better.

Pete